CHICAGO (CBS) — A TSA employee who jumped in front of a CTA Blue Line train last month to save a woman who’d fallen on the tracks was being honored by the Department of Homeland Security.
WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports 50-year-old Eddie Palacios has received the Secretary’s Award of Valor for his actions on April 2, when he waved down a Blue Line train at the Chicago and Milwaukee subway station as it bore down on a woman who fell on the tracks.
The award is given to Homeland Security employees who have been selfless and courageous in a highly dangerous situation. That aptly describes what Palacios did, even if he downplayed his actions.
“I’m kind of embarrassed, because it really wasn’t anything in that sense,” he said. “I just thank God that nothing happened to her, and nothing happened to me.”
Palacios, a TSA baggage supervisor, was on his way to his job at O’Hare International Airport when he saw a woman stagger off the platform and onto the tracks below. He said he worked it out in his head as he sprang into action: if he jumped on the tracks and stood between the woman and the train, the operator would see the orange Fighting Illini hoodie he was wearing, and stop the train.
“I don’t want anybody to think I was being reckless at all. I wasn’t,” Palacios said. “I was actually trying to calculate the time from the train, and how much time I had to get back on top of the platform.”
He’s one of eight Homeland Security employees to receive the Secretary’s Award of Valor.